Getting Started with list building (for Non-techies)

by Rob P
6 replies
Hi all,

I said I would give some info as to how I started my list. Nothing here will be new I doubt to anyone who is already up and running but I guess the thing to remember is, as always, taking action. It's understandable to get dismayed when you first start out - especially when you see other people's sites, hear of their success and think 'I'll never get there' but remember that we all start with NOTHING. Set an hour or 4 a day to FOCUS on list building alone and at the end of a week or month you will see some massive changes.

This is going to be a fairly long post so I'll split it up and put one technique at a time. Like I say, I doubt anything will blow your head away here but these techniques come from experience - they worked for me and helped me build 2k + names very quickly. My list is now at nearly 15,000 and growing every day using the very same techniques although I have tended to focus more on product development for the last 12 months and have done very little focussed list building. I suppose that's the beauty of this stuff - once you set the techniques in motion, a lot of them keep generating traffic. :-)

Actually, for this first technique, that's not true. This has little direct longevity but there are indirect benefits and it is certainly a fast builder. This is the technique I used first... FORUMS.... and this is how I went about using them...

1. Make a list of forums in your niche. For me, in teaching, that was quite easy - there are some big online communities.
2. Post questions to the forum members asking them things like "What is the biggest problem you are facing in .......?
3. Produce some free resources/brief reports to answer their problems and then post simple messages offering the free stuff.
4. Free report on....... here(link to your opt-in box) Be careful with this - some forums hate adverts of any kind - even for free stuff - but you can often add the link to your sig. I tended to add something like "In order to get the report you will have to give your name/email - sorry if that offends. If you still want the report but don't want to give your details just email me and I'll send you it anyway" (That way you are seen as less than a blatant marketer and not many people bother to email anyway. :-)
5. Have a separate opt-in page for each of your free reports/give-aways. That way you can test your most popular offers and see where your members are coming from. (In Aweber this is easy to do using their web form tutorial).
6. If you are selling an ebook GIVE COPIES AWAY. This got me started in sales almost immediately. My ebook was all about behaviour management for teachers (if you want a copy to see what it was like you can get it here without signing up: Classman - access ). I knew it was a hot topic with big demand so I offered 50 copies:
"Free behaviour Management Ebook" was the headline I used and then in the message I said "I've got 50 copies to give away. I'm afraid I'm using this as a marketing tool so you will have to give your email address tyo get the ebook but I'm sure you'll think it's worth it. :-)

The 50 copies went in about an hour as I recall (teachers don't like spending money so the free offer was very appealing to them!)

What I did next was slightly more creative: On the download page I said "Hi, thanks for requesting your ebook - here it is, I hope you enjoy it. All I ask in return is that you leave some feedback in the same thread on the forum saying what you thought of it."

That little tip got me loads of sign-ups and loads of sales because the thread stayed up there for ages with people adding feedback. In fact, this was so useful to me I think I gave away about 200 copies in the end.

7. After that I tried to make sure all my posts were either: HIGHLY USEFUL to members and had a link to some of my resources and/or ENCOURAGED FURTHER INPUT FROM FORUM MEMBERS. The trick on forums is to try and get a long/popular thread. You can do that in many ways. Here are a couple:

The first is exactly what you're seeing with this thread. You need to first have a popular title. I knew from the feedback on my last post - from $27 ebook to $12,000 in 2 weeks - that people were very keen to know how I built my list in the first place (And we all know traffic is quite a hot subject anyway:-). Then, you split the information up over several posts to stretch the time out that people will follow the thread. In actual fact I'm having to do that anyway because there's going to be quite a bit of info but you get the point.

Another way is to encourage feedback - as I did when I gave away copies of my ebook. Gradually the thread builds and builds and if you did a good job with your initial product and have chosen a popular forum you get lots and lots of referrals/traffic.

Another way is to ask for help and add a 'PS' to your message with your site details. Like this:

Can Anyone help me please?

I'm looking for extra tips to add to my 'classroom management tips' newsletter. I'm particularly looking for ideas to get boys to read. I have some good ideas of my own but I know there are a lot of very skilled people on this forum so I'd appreciate anything you can add.
Many thanks in advance,
Rob Plevin
Any tips I receive will be added to our selection of free resources here: {link to your website with an opportunity to join your autoresponder}

8. Structure your posts for SEO:

Forum posts actually get indexed, and are available for reference anytime thereafter. This is GREAT news for you, because you can easily use this to your advantage.

First, you have to know what your most frequently searched keywords are for your chosen topic and then just use them in your subject line.

Here are a few examples:

KEYWORD: Classroom Management
SUBJECT TITLE: Classroom management question - do you use this technique with kids who swear?

KEYWORD: Classroom management tip
SUBJECT TITLE: A cool classroom management tip I just received...

KEYWORD: Noisy pupils
SUBJECT TITLE: How I settle noisy pupils every day...

(I cut those from a product I'm putting together on 'Getting Customers' for trainers/consultants hence the different text :-)

Hope they help folks. I'll put some more up when I get chance.
#building #list #list building #nontechies #started #traffic
  • Profile picture of the author Rob P
    List building strategy 2 - the second method I used to get names quickly:

    Offer to write an article series for a popular ezine/newsletter in your niche.

    The main newsletter for teachers in the UK is the TES but it is difficult to get featured with them. I approached the next biggest - eteach - and offered to write them a SERIES of articles on classroom management for their site/newsletter and told them I wanted nothing in return other than a link back to my site. The offer of a series is very appealing -a complete package of content that their clients will enjoy.

    They were happy for me to supply them with articles I'd already published on my site so it didn't require much additional work but it resulted in a fair surge of traffic - 3-400 names - every time they sent out their newsletter.

    Since that initial contact about two years ago I was invited to their offices in London a couple of weeks ago to discuss how we can work together in a massive new campaign they are planning to try and topple the TES from the top slot- WOW, it's amazing where this stuff leads once you get started.

    I have to stress - I am NOT much of a writer! I have to really work at it and I know full well my articles aren't that good - the point is they don't have to be. Write what you know about (or research it) and the passion will show through. Give people useful information and they'll keep coming back - regardless of the fact your speeling might not be that good or your grammer aint neither. :-)
    All the suffering in this world comes from trying to make yourself happy. All the happiness comes from making others happy. (GK Gyatso)

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  • Profile picture of the author Rob P
    3. Offline marketing

    For this I used (and still use) a combination of paid ads in related journals and free flyers posted out to schools. Initially I tried to create my own offline database of school addresses but I then negotiated a good deal with a list broker to get lots more. With a shared mailing the option of sending out flyers isn't actually that expensive. The big benefit for me in my niche was that one flyer could up on the staff room notice board and would be visible to 50-100 members of staff.

    The flyer simply said 'Get Free Classroom Management Tips at Classroom-management .org'

    After a few weeks of generating sales and happy customers I started sending these flyers out to my past customers asking them to actively post the flyers up in staffrooms. That seemed to work well too.

    At one point I teamed up with someone on ebay who was selling teaching resources and got them to include a flyer with any resource packages they sent out for retrun links and a mention in my newsletter. That could be applied to many niches.
    All the suffering in this world comes from trying to make yourself happy. All the happiness comes from making others happy. (GK Gyatso)

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  • Profile picture of the author Nathan Denton
    Hi Rob,

    Thanks for this multi-post. You have presented three solid strategies which can be used to help build a good list with and best of all, they can be applied in any market place. Simply taking action like this can difference between someone succeeding in the marketing game and those who just sit on the sidelines.

    Great post and best of luck.

    Online marketing, offline marketing and various other things.
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    • Profile picture of the author ExRat
      Hi Rob,

      I thanked you for sharing your original post about your success, and I know you're enthusiastic and new(ish) here.

      But when you put these circumstances together -

      Nothing here will be new I doubt to anyone who is already up and running
      This is going to be a fairly long post so I'll split it up and put one technique at a time. Like I say, I doubt anything will blow your head away
      ...typically, these type of threads will end up getting deleted. This is usually because the threads don't breed discussion, just lots of people saying thankyou. Plus the threads end up huge, keep getting bumped with thankyous, and in 99% of cases the author gets so carried away with the gratitude that they end up turning it into a personal promotion machine for a product or a WSO, because it's natural marketer behaviour to do so.

      I have no beef with it, but I'm just letting you know because it's happened here many times.

      Perhaps if you swing it back into more of a discussion than a tutorial, this might help?

      The standard reason from 'above' is that these type of posts shoul be on a warrior blog, or your own blog.

      Just trying to help. It might be prudent to download the page and save it on your hard drive, in case it does disappear.

      Roger Davis

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  • Profile picture of the author Rob P
    4. Ride on the coat tails of success

    I learned the power of Joint Ventures from Phil Gosling and Bill Myers years ago. Both great teachers and top blokes.

    It was Bill who said 'find someone successful and ride on their coat tails.' It sums up the process of JVs very well. But it was Phil who outlined the real power.

    I was at one of his seminars and he told a story about how he had made hundreds of thoudands of pounds with his 'Success Engineering' ebook - in a matter of days. It was so cool - he described how he and his wife just stood with their mouths open watching sale, after sale, after sale, after sale register on the screen.

    He did it like this:

    He made a list of everyone who would be interested in a book on the laws of attraction (before the famous 'Secret' hit the big time).

    Then he scrapped that list because it seemed that everyone and his dog was trying the same. Instead he started thinking creatively. He thought of all the other areas where creating your own results/luck etc. was important and changed his approach... he contacted lottery sites, gambling sites and tipsters.

    These sites have MASSIVE lists and with a 60/40 split (in their favour) as well as the promise that he wouldn't steal the names of their customers by putting up a squeeze page prior to the order button, he got a massive take-up.

    Now I know what you're thinking... how does that help us create a list - especially if you omit the main factor in building a list - the squeeze page?

    Well, consider this: website owners get hammered day in and day out for JVs - if you're going to secure one with them you have to make them an offer they'll like. By telling them you DON'T want to hijeck all their hard-earned names, you become more acceptable - especially if you offer them the lion's share of the split too (60/40 - even 70/30). What you get out of it is a very targeted list of BUYERS - and that is much more valuable than a big list of tyre kickers. :-)
    All the suffering in this world comes from trying to make yourself happy. All the happiness comes from making others happy. (GK Gyatso)

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  • Profile picture of the author Rob P
    Roger you hit me hard there man but all points taken on board. You're absolutely right - I was totally getting carried away and I have to admit my ego kicked in a bit. In fact, I've done little but check this forum out for the last 24 hours because I found it so addictive!

    Right, count me out. I'm off to do some work. :-)
    All the suffering in this world comes from trying to make yourself happy. All the happiness comes from making others happy. (GK Gyatso)

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